Some of the world’s leading extreme sports athletes took part in a promotional event ahead of the start of construction of Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project.

The new city is to be built in the north west of the country, with the first phase, NEOM Bay, expected to be finished by 2020.

Saudi rock-climber Yasmin Gahtani joined several international extreme sports stars in the event, which was designed to showcase the natural beauty of the area and the innovation the NEOM project hopes to encapsulate.

Jason Harbarow, head of future of sport at NEOM, explained: “The reason we chose extreme adventure sports at the first event in NEOM is because it’s a beautiful environment.

“Sport is right at the centre of what we want to achieve at NEOM, and that means sport for all: male, female, children and athletes with disabilities. NEOM will be for everybody.”

Gahtani said: “Being a woman, I’m very honoured to be here and very happy to have NEOM’s support.”

She was joined by German bouldering world champion Juliane Wurm, British wingsuiter Sam Hardy and several other leading extreme sports stars.

“I can 100% see NEOM being the place for extreme sports whether it is climbing, skydiving or kite surfing,” said Hardy.

“The landscape, the mountains, the sand areas and the ocean are like nothing I have seen before. That’s what makes NEOM special and unique.”

NEOM’s organisers have described it as “the world’s most ambitious project” and the opening phase will include tourist resorts and attractions.